By Our Reporter
The wife of the Governor of Cross River State, Dr. Linda Ayade is set to lead the fight for pregnant women to deliver in health facilities where there are skilled birth attendants in a bid to reduce maternal and newborn mortality rates in the state.
This followed her appointment as the lead on the reproductive, maternal, newborn, child health and nutrition cause recently in Abuja by wife of Nigeria’s President, Hajia Aisha Buhari.
Mrs. Buhari also appointed the wives of other governors as the lead of the cause and similar programs in their states.
And, Mrs. Ayade said through her nongovernmental organization (NGO), the Mediatrix Development Foundation (MDF), a lot has been achieved and pledged to do more as RMNCH+N was a priority in the state.
“My NGO Mediatrix Development foundation is working tirelessly to support the government improve the a lot of women and children.
“In Cross River State I will champion the course of sensitising our women on delivering in health facilities with skilled birth attendant, pushing the fight against cancer and ending malnutrition and VVF as well as HIV and other health issues affecting women and children,” she said.
Mrs. Buhari had also inaugurated the Governors Wives Advocacy Coalition and lamented that the country was still listed as having one of the worst reproductive, maternal, child health and nutrition records which informed her setting up of the ‘future assured’ program and called for the introduction of an agenda on updating of state’s progress on these initiatives at the Wives of Governors meetings.
“We are here today to build an alliances that will help strengthen our advocacy for RMNCHN at state level
“By creating a strong coalition, we will increase awareness on the importance of improving RMNCH and Nutrition, promote advocacy for better service delivery and increase the utilization of RMNCH and Nutrition services.
“We also need to advocate for Primary Health Care, that is why we invited heads of Primary Health Agencies to work very closely with wives of Governors in their states to achieve needed results” she noted.
And, with increased media attention to the Cross River State health sector in the past two years, has the state achieved any results?
The Director General of the State Primary Health Care Development Agency (CRSPHCDA), Dr. Betta Edu while addressing journalists said there have been positive achievements so far and added that there was still room for improvement.
“We have reduced maternal mortality by 28% and under five mortality by 35% in pilot health facilities.
“We have covered over 284,000 children with vitamin A supplementation and we are doing everything to keep our women and children alive and healthy,” she said.
Vitamin A For Sight In Children
In a related development, the Cross River State Government will soon commence free eye screening for Primary School Pupils in the state as part of activities marking the 2017 World Sight Day with the theme: “Make Vision Count.”
The DG CRSPHCDA, Dr. Betta Edu said the agency is partnering the National Association of Optometrists in the initiative in line with the World Health Organization’s action plan of 2014-2019 to reduce prevalence of visual impairment to 25 percent.
She said the Vitamin A supplementation which covered 284,000 children was evidence the state cared about sight.
“The State is partnering with the State Chapter of National Association of Optometrists to go into schools and get the eyes of our young ones properly screened, identify where we need to intervene before the child begin to fail in school not because the child does not know what to do but because the child can no longer see the class teacher, the chalk board or white board again,” Dr. Edu said.
The second Thursday of October every year is set aside for this purpose and Mr. Kelechukwu Ahaiwe, who heads the state Chapter of the Optometrists Association said the partnership will see the provision of vision corridors in schools across the State in line with the 2017 theme with focused attention to avoidable blindness visual impairment.
A vision corridor was unveiled at Rabana roundabout located at a highbrow street in Calabar, the state capital after a 1.2 kilometer city vision walk which took off from Millennium Park.